Chart of group satisfaction by size, from Life With AlacrityConnected and Alienated, Offline and On: Barbara Ganley reflects on the recent Northern Voice conference in a mournful post that resonates strongly with what I was thinking and feeling while I was there: This was a gathering of people who, mostly, had become friends and intimates online, and were now meeting in the ‘real world’ and yet, somehow, felt themselves without much of importance to say, and, worse, unable to say it compellingly. Northern Voice’s mostly-young social networkers seemed to exhibit the same malaise that I see everywhere today, in bars and restaurants and office meetings and even home parties — hordes of people engaged in halting raids on the inarticulate, desperate to make connection and communicate what is important to them, to receive attention and appreciation, all suffering from growing information sickness, and a deep-seated and disquieting sense of anxiety and grief — about the world, their future, and the lack of meaning and purpose in it all. “Something is happening here, and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?”
Mashups of Staggering Genius: Reviewing some of Michael Wesch‘s great videos, I stumbled on the work of mashup expert Jordan “DJ Earworm” Roseman. He combines audio and video of popular and dance music to create works of art much better than any of the component songs. This guy is freaking brilliant. If you haven’t seen/heard his work, you’re in for a treat. And you can download all his mp3s from his website. Huge fun. Here’s his best stuff:
Why It’s Dangerous to Be a Witch in a Recession: Dave B worries that as times get worse, envy for those who have more will bring out dark and ancient hatreds.
An Idea For Finding Partners: One of the key components of Open Space methodology is the practice of Invitation, of crafting an invitation that will be powerful enough to inspire people to show up at an event (like a networking or partner-connecting event), even at their own expense. Chris Corrigan and Geoff Brown suggest that a great tool for invitation is the ‘trailer’, the compelling multi-media teaser that film studies use to invite people to see their films. How might we craft a great ‘trailer’ to attract the kind of people we were meant to live with, or make a living with?
Has Civilization Constipated Our Brains?: An interesting review of the work of psychologist Julian Jaynes, who argued that the way our human brains ‘worked’ was very different before modern civilization culture ‘rewired’ them. As a result, he argued, we have become much poorer artists, less intuitive and perhaps more neurotic. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.
Lessons About Ego From Ojibway Etymology: Chris Corrigan explains the original meaning of two Ojibway words that speak volumes about their culture, and ours. The word they had to invent for ‘chief’ or ‘leader’ (they had no need for such a word before contact with Europeans), oglimaw is taken from the word for the gentle poplar tree and literally means “one who influences others through kindness“. And the word for ‘all my relations’ – dineamaaganik – actually means “belonging to everything.”
Is Tom Friedman Becoming Progressive?: Several people pointed me to an Op-Ed by the conservative globalization apologist in which he acknowledges that our current economic model is unsustainable and that perhaps the economy recently passed a point of ‘inflection’ with no return to ‘normal’ possible or desirable. There have been a lot of sarcastic responses from progressives, and I tend to think that this ‘awakening’ is just the pretext for Friedman’s next go-with-the-flow book, which I suggested might be called The World Is Flat — Broke.
The Opposite of a ‘Military Academy’?: Robert Koehler writes about the foundations of a new national Peace Academy.
Town in Maine Strips Corporations of ‘Personhood”: A bold move from the town to recognize the insane power that politicians and lawyers have given corporations. The town also passed a community-based declaration of independence asserting its right to self-government and bestowing rights to the natural environment. It’s all part of a struggle with multi-nasty-al corporation Nestle, which wants to privatize and export Maine’s water. Thanks to Tree for the link.
Transition Town Movement Gains Momentum: The UK-originated Transition Town movement, which prepares local communities for self-sufficiency after the End of Oil (and now Climate Collapse as well), is picking up steam in the US, and gained a foothold in Australia. The movement so far is based on more theory than practice, but anything that advances community-based society, economy, permaculture and sufficiency is a step in the right direction. Thanks to Cheryl for the link, and the one that follows.
Our Online Networks Get Bigger But Real Friendships Don’t: A new study from Facebook: “The average [male Facebook user]—one with 120 “friends”—generally responds to the postings of only 7 of those friends by leaving comments on the posting individual’s photos, status messages or ‘wall’. An average woman [Facebook user] is slightly more sociable, responding to 10. When it comes to two-way communication such as e-mails or chats, the average man interacts with only 4 people and the average woman with 6.” This ties into the group satisfaction chart above. Wonder what the numbers would be for bloggers?
France’s 16 Million Lost Acres: Tens of millions of unexploded shells from World War I mean that 16 million acres of French forest remain off-limits to the public to this day. It will take centuries of dangerous work to clear these munitions.
China Worried Over US Debts: As holders of $1T of US indebtedness, China is justifiably worried that either (a) if interest rates spike, the value of these debentures tanks proportionately. And if they’re held to maturity, there’s a chance a collapse of the value of the US dollar will make them worthless anyway. But they’re stuck — if they tried to sell or re-denominate even a tiny portion of these assets, it would precipitate just such a US dollar collapse.
More from Orlov: Rob P points us to a video interview with Dmitri Orlov explaining his argument that bailouts can’t work and inevitably the US economy will collapse just as the Soviet one did. I linked to his main paper on this subject previously.
Not Coming Soon to a TV Station in Your Community: Patti catches an ad that shows that Argentina’s way ahead of us in progressive thinking and social tolerance.
Hawken Joins the Global Collective Rising Consciousness Cabal: This is really sad. This is the Rapture, salvationism (Hawken uses the word ‘salvation’ in this sermon — all he’s missing is the robes), wrapped in new age garb. We are not going to be saved by a collective rising consciousness. This is not in the nature of the human, or any, species. This group-hug we’re-gonna-be-OK crap is dangerous. Like any well-crafted preachy cult rhetoric, it’s seductive. Don’t get sucked in.
Just for Fun:
Facebook users can get a Friend Wheel that shows which of your friends are friends with each other. Too bad most of the people in my networks aren’t on Facebook. I need one of these for my Gmail address book.Bank of America jingle: Before (2006), when they coopted a U2 song, and then Now (2008) after the crash. Really funny satire.
Jean-Séb points us to a cute video on the virtues of art.
Thoughts for the Week:
From Dave S: “If you want to understand a culture, listen to the grandmothers; the past creates the patterns into which the present and future flow.”From a new poem by Sam Mills:
Now though as circumstances ease
I examine my heart
for its former wilderness
where every filament and pollengrain
sang. Where I stumbled in company with thrumming nightjars.
Where I believe the moon is waiting for me
and the hills
shift sleepily, making room.
Other Writers About CollapseAlbert Bates (US)
Andrew Nikiforuk (CA)
Carolyn Baker (US)*
Catherine Ingram (US)
Chris Hedges (US)
Dahr Jamail (US)
David Petraitis (US)
David Wallace-Wells (US)
Dean Spillane-Walker (US)*
Derrick Jensen (US)
Doing It Ourselves (AU)
Dougald & Paul (UK)*
Gail Tverberg (US)
Guy McPherson (US)
Jan Wyllie (UK)
Janaia & Robin (US)*
Jem Bendell (US)
Jonathan Franzen (US)
Kari McGregor (AU)
Keith Farnish (UK)
NTHE Love (UK)
Paul Chefurka (CA)
Paul Heft (US)*
Post Carbon Inst. (US)
Richard Heinberg (US)
Robert Jensen (US)
Roy Scranton (US)
Sam Mitchell (US)
Sam Rose (US)*
Tim Bennett (US)
Tim Garrett (US)
Umair Haque (US)
William Rees (CA)
Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 100 Posts --
Preparing for Civilization's End:
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
The Boiling Frog
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self:
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
The Ever-Stranger (Poem)
The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
Only This (Poem)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
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